October 5, 2022

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

City urged to address risk of urban firestorms

2 min read

Public comment this week urged Eugene’s City Council to look at the increasing risk of urban firestorms.

[00:00:06] Randy Prince: I’m Randy Prince. I live in Ward Three, Amazon neighborhood. I’m active in the neighborhood association there, and I’m one of the co-coordinators of a committee of the Neighborhood Leaders Council, the Eugene Neighbors Preparedness Network.

[00:00:18] And I wanted to come here tonight with some additional comments on the topic of fire safety and our community’s resiliency, again, on the topic of urban firestorms that consume hundreds of houses, irrespective of vegetation issues. It concerns the placement of buildings and the materials used in the construction, like roofs and siding. Think Almeda Fire down in Medford, Tubbs Fire 2017 in Santa Rosa.

[00:00:43] I really urge you to get somebody on this to commission a study by a recognized consultant to evaluate our community for this risk, a company such as the one that did the multi-hazard plan in 2000.

[00:00:57] John Q: He said under Oregon law, communities must investigate emerging hazards.

[00:01:03] Randy Prince: In addition to the public comments I made last month, you may have noticed, I did submit testimony on the record regarding middle housing. This is a basis for further legal action. The reason that was relevant to middle housing is, we are increasing density with the upzoning. There may be a building boom, and without changing those building standards or lot coverage, we are increasing the risk.

[00:01:27] This is a new hazard. It was a remote hazard, but it is increased due to climate change. I cited Goal Seven specifically, new hazard procedures. If you look at Goal Seven, you’ll see there’s a specific process where the DLCD (Department of Land Conservation and Development) up in Salem orders communities to investigate. You never heard of that. It’s never happened, but it’s still law.

[00:01:49] And my lawyer tells me that they have had hearings. Why hasn’t it happened? He also says that if a process isn’t working, it’s on you, the City, to carry out the meeting of Goal Seven, look and address this new hazard due to climate change.

[00:02:04] And we gained this experience through an appeal of the Jordan Cove project. We were not refuted but we did not win because we didn’t get the full hearing.

[00:02:12] So please do the right thing, order a study on this matter and do it before we suffer a catastrophe. Tokyo has measures against this. That’s because they had firestorms and they took action. Oregon law says, do something before you have to learn the hard way. Thank you.

[00:02:29] John Q: Randy Prince urges the City to address the increasing risk of urban firestorms, as required under Oregon law.


Randy Prince submitted the following testimony on HB2001:

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